a christ-centered community of curious leaders

a christ-centered community
of curious leaders

a community that's focuseD on living and LEADing WELL

sabbath rest

practical learning

collegial support

intentional transFORMATION

Leading Well Learning Retreats

Our four-day training experience for pastors, deacons, and church leaders offers a unique blend of practical skill development along with worship, retreat, and sharing of best practices. 

Leading Well can help leaders:



Cost and What is Included

Individual Rates include program tuition and vary based on room occupancy, if you stay onsite, and if you are a Siebert Grant recipient.

On-site housing includes 9 full meals, 3 night’s lodging, and hospitality. On-site meals and hospitality are also included in the Commuter rate.

Double Occupancy – $900 per person
Single Occupancy – $1000 per person
Commuter – $675 per person

SIEBERT GRANT (Double) – No charge
SIEBERT GRANT (Single) – $150
Non-participating Spouse – $450

Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center hosts our AZ retreat each November. Between programming, participants can hike, explore the outdoor labyrinth, or soak in the pool or hot tub.


Rev. Sarah Ciavarri, M.Div., BCC, PCC, CDTLF, loves seeing people get excited about their lives and futures. Sarah is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, a Board Certified Chaplain, a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation and is always seeking new adventures in service.  For ten years Sarah has traveled nationally keynoting and facilitating workshops on resilience, vulnerability, and shame.  She has received numerous grants recognizing her work exploring shame and vulnerability in non-profit contexts.  Sarah is the author of Find Our Way to Truth:  Seven Lies Leaders Believe and How to Let Them Go. Sarah is Vice President of Spiritual Life for Cassia and is a graduate of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN where she was a Presidential Scholar.

“Sarah is a gifted coach and presenter for Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead material! She presented for our team’s annual event and was able to customize the material especially for us. I’ve also attended an all-day workshop Sarah presented, and experienced personal growth as a result! Sarah is well-versed and knowledgeable as a coach and her presence exudes the care and concern she has for others!”
Mary Younggren, Connector in Chief at Advent Talent and Creative and NAWBO-MN President

Bishop Yehiel Curry was elected June 8, 2019, to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). From 2013-2019, Bishop Curry served as pastor of Shekinah Chapel Lutheran Church, where he also served as mission developer from 2007 to 2012. Bishop Curry received a Bachelor of Arts from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois in 1995, and a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 2013. He and his wife, LaShonda, are the parents of three daughters.

Reverend Jenny Sung is an ordained #FreeRangePastor with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America meaning she spends most of her time traveling, preaching, speaking, writing, and coaching leaders how to heal through brave love and beloved community. She received her Masters of Divinity through Luther Seminary and is the founder and co-director of One Dance Company, a professional modern dance company in the Twin Cities. Connect with Rev. Sung

Pastor Miguel F. Gomez-Acosta was born in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. In 1985 he immigrated to Salinas, CA, where he was introduced to the Lutheran Church (LCA). He lived in various places including Guam and the Bay Area before returning to Salinas where he graduated high school.

He graduated from Lutheran Bible Institute of Seattle in 1999 with a B.A. in Biblical Studies. He then received his M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary (NW Campus) in 2006. For his Lutheran Year he attended Lutheran Seminary Program of the Southwest in Austin, TX in 2008.

He moved to the Grand Canyon Synod when he was called to serve as a mission developer in 2006 for Mision Luterana de San Pedro in Mesa, AZ. In 2010 San Pedro moved to First Evangelical and changed it’s name to La Primera Mision Evangelica Luterana. In 2013, he became the Senior Pastor of First Evangelical and both ministries merged under one call. In 2016 he was called to be the Director for Evangelical Mission for the Grand Canyon Synod.

He is married to Rachel and has to children, Mariana (20) and Bradly (17). Currently he is a member of Holy Trinity in Chandler.

Event Schedule

Day one - Tuesday

Day Two - Wednesday

Day three - Thursday

Day four- friday



Reverend Sarah Ciavarri - Gray

Rev. Sarah Ciavarri

Daring Greatly

Bishop Yehiel Curry - Gray

Bishop Yiehiel Curry

Cultivating Peace


Deacon Tammy Devine

Prayer Practices

Miguel Gomez Acosta

Rev. Pastor Miguel Gomez-Acosta

Leaning on Ancient Wisdom

Jim LaDoux - gray

Jim LaDoux

Managing Leadership Anxiety

Reverend Jenny Sung - Gray

Rev. Pastor Jenny Sung

Blessed are the Peace Makers

About Leading Well

Living well and leading well go hand-in-hand.

Leading Well is a “learning retreat” open to all types of church leaders.

It is for anyone who works with paid staff or volunteers in the context of a church. This includes those who are newly called to leading in ministry and those who wish to sharpen their skills. Pastors, Discipleship Coordinators, Deacons, Youth Directors, Children’s Ministry leaders, Worship leaders, Judicatory leaders, program staff, and anyone else who feels the call to follow Christ through service in the Church are all welcome.

Our events are a unique blend of practical learning and sabbath rest, with a focus on the leader as a whole person. Presentations cover everything from technological tools for ministry to leveraging conflict as an opportunity for growth.

Our facilitators understand they are more than presenters; they are the stewards of the event. The wisdom shared at the event will come from their prepared materials and much comes from YOU – the leaders who attend, each bringing your own gifts and diverse experiences. Many of our past participants have commented that their greatest “takeaways” came from synthesizing the content with fellow colleagues who also attended!

Each participant leaves the event with a “Leadership Formation Plan” tailored to their context, gifts, and present needs.